Study on the Biological Treatment of Air-borne VOCs by Sieve-plate Absorption Tower Combined with Activated Sludge Aeration Tank

by Chang, Hsiao-Yu

Abstract (Summary)
Bioprocesses for air pollution control can generally be categorized as bioscrubber, biofilter, and biotrickling filter systems. These processes have been proven to be economical and effective for control of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with concentrations of <1,000 mg C m-3 in gas streams. First, an activated sludge aeration tank (W x L x H = 40 x 40 x 300 cm) with a set of 2 mm orifice air spargers was utilized to treat gas-borne VOCs (toluene, p-xylene, and dichloromethane) in air streams. The effects of liquid depth (Z), aeration intensity (G/A), the overall mass transfer rate of oxygen in clean water (KLaO2), the Henry¡¦s law constant of the tested VOC (H), and the influent gaseous VOC concentration (C0) on the efficiency of removal of VOCs were examined and compared with a literature-cited model. Results show that the measured VOC removal efficiencies and those predicted by the model were comparable at a G/A of 3.75 ¡V 11.25 m3 m-2 hr-1 and C0 of around 1,000 ¡V 6,000 mg m-3. Experimental data also indicate that the designed gas treatment reactor with KLaO2 = 5 ¡V 15 hr-1, could achieve > 85% removal of VOCs with H = 0.24 ¡V 0.25 at an aerated liquid depth of 1 m, and > 95% removal of dichloromethane with H = 0.13 at a 1 m liquid depth. The model predicts that, for gas treatment in common activated sludge tanks, with KLaO2 = 5 ¡V 10 hr-1, depth = 3 ¡V 4.5 m, G/A = 9 ¡V 18 m3 m-2 hr-1, > 92% VOC removal can be achieved with operating parameters of Z of 3.0 m and KLaVOC/(G/A) of about 0.28 m-1, for VOCs with H < 0.3, such as most oxygen-containing hydrocarbons with low molecular weights, and benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and dichloromethane. Second, an activated sludge aeration tank and a sieve-plate column with six sieve plates were utilized to treat gas-borne VOCs in air streams. The tank was used for the biodegradation of the absorbed VOCs from the column which utilized the activated mixed liquor drawn from the tank as a scrubbing liquor. This research proposed a model for VOC absorption to a down-flow activated sludge liquor in a sieve-plate column. The experimental setup consisted of a pilot-scale activated-sludge tank and a sieve-plate tower, as demonstrated. The sieve-plate tower was constructed from a 25 x 25 x 162 cm (W x L x H) acrylic column with six custom-made sieve plates. Each plate has 382 holes which are 3 mm in diameter arranged on a square pitch. The holes give an open area of 3.82% of the whole plate area for gas flow. Two 25 mm-i.d. down-comer pipes were also equipped to allow for the downflow of the activated sludge liquor. Ports were provided at the column inlet, outlet, and each plate for gas and liquid sampling. Experiments were conducted and the model verified based on the results of tests on the removal efficiencies of isopropyl alcohol (IPA), toluene and p-xylene in the system operated at a range of influent VOC concentrations, air application rates, and liquid/gas flow ratios (L/G). The model developed by a material balance for the gaseous- and liquid-VOC over each plate of the column was developed and experimentally verified in this study. Superficial gas velocity over the column plate (U), number of plates (N), volumetric liquid-phase VOC-transfer coefficient (KLaVOC), aerated liquid depth over the plate (Z), volumetric liquid/gas flow-rate ratio (L/G), dimensionless Henry¡¦s law coefficient of the VOC to be absorbed (H), VOC content of the influent scrubbing liquor (xN+1), and the biodegradation rate constant of the VOC in the activated sludge mixed liquor (k) are among the affecting parameters to the effectiveness of the VOC removal. Model application by the model for effects of affecting parameters on the VOC removal effectiveness indicates that L/G, plate number N, biodegradation rate constant k, Henry¡¦s law constant of VOC H are among the important ones. A L/GH of greater than 2 and N of around 6 are enough for the effective (>90%) removal of the influent VOCs with H < 0.01 if no biodegradation occurred in the column. However, a N of over 16 is required for the influent VOCs with H of around 0.2. Biodegradation with a rate constant of around 100 hr-1 in the column greatly improves the column performance.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Shui-Jen Chen; Mei-Jywan Syu; Ming-Muh Kao; Yang-Lei; Hung-Yuan Fang; Ju-Sheng Huang; Ming-Shean Chou

School:National Sun Yat-Sen University

School Location:China - Taiwan

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:isopropyl alcohol ipa toluene p xylene dichloromethane dcm bio oxidation activated sludge bioscrubber volatile organic compounds vocs


Date of Publication:10/24/2005

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